Featuring cherita!

May 29, 2014

Poetry Friday--The Poetry Friday Round-Up Is Here!

Photo by Lewis Wickes Hine, courtesy Library of Congress.

Caption: Small family group hulling berries at Johnson's Hulling Station, Seaford, Delaware. Date: May 1910.

I've got two poems completed for my entry in The Sketchbook Project, and at least two more, which I wrote prior to taking on the project. That's four down and about eleven to go!

This one is especially relevant since June is the start of strawberry season!
Two Cents a Quart

All of us are here.
Papa's in the shed shaving
wood for quart baskets.
Gran and Grampy, and
Mama and us youngins share
a bench hulling strawberries.
We gets 2 cents a quart.
Mr. Johnson says he ain't
gonna dock us for all the wood
we take home in our fingertips!
He's a real corker, he is.
© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.
If you're here for the Poetry Friday Round-Up, leave your links in the comments and I'll be collecting them all day Friday. I'm quitting by 9:00 PM because Saturday is the Friends of the Library of Windham's annual Strawberry Festival and Book Fair, and I need my rest so that I'll have the strength to lift all those heaping spoonsful of biscuit, strawberries, and cream!

Laura Shovan showcases the poems created by kids during Laura's recent residency at Northfield Elementary. I read them and had to stop in the middle to get a snack to stop myself from drooling!

Tara joins many in remembering Maya Angelou, who passed away this week. Tara shares "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." Angelou is now flying free, but those of us stuck on earth will miss her presence.

Julia Wendell's "My Mother's Handwriting" takes the stage at Jama's Alphabet Soup, and it's not soup Jama's serving up, but her mother's chili! (Wait until morning, though, the post isn't live until 6 am.)

Laura Salas at Teaching Authors has a poem by one of my favorite children's poets, Valerie Worth, "Geese."

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes issued a challenge for the month of May. Write a cinquain relating to water, post it at Today's Little Ditty, and you'll be entered in a drawing for a copy of Laura Salas' book, Water Can Be. Michelle has the entries rounded up for us. There's still time to post yours. I thought I had posted one, but I don't see it. Maybe I just intended to and never did! Wait, I found it:
And You Thought It Was Just Yucky

stream of protein-laden
water ensures germ-protected
I'll go post it now! This is everything that had been left in the comments prior to 11:00 PM, I'll be back in the morning to start on the rest!

Good morning! I'm back and will be posting with a cat on my shoulder! It sometimes makes it difficult to type, but she's getting old and likes the nearness. How can I turn her away?

Matt Forrest Esenwine's daughter had an encounter with a giant of the woods and inspired Matt's poem for today, "Problem Solved."

At Beyond Literacy Link, Carol is joining us with an original Memorial Day poem, framed very nicely. She also shares a vintage postcard from her ephemera collection. I'm looking forward to seeing what other things she has in her collections!

Linda at Teacher Dance has been working with student writers all year and now collects some of their work for us--poems, stories, and even an essay about the decline of whales!

Our Amazing Days has a post about my favorite type of poetry--ekphrasis! Check out Karin's awesome poem inspired by Andy Warhol's "Grevy's Zebra." It is an amazing day!

Mary Lee's Year of Reading ends the school year with "Sumer Is Icumen In." Make sure you take the time to listen to the poem sung in a round. I have "sing cuckoo" stuck in my head now. Help!

Another tribute to Maya Angelou is posted by Jone. "Still I Rise" is a favorite with many.

Iphigene from Gathering Books takes us in another direction with a poem by Pablo Neruda about an onion! Yes, an onion, and it's wonderful!

Imagine you're in the Trojan horse. Imagine you ARE the Trojan horse. That's what Tabatha has done for us in her original poem, "Wooden Horse," we're there!

At Carol's Corner the Maya Angelou tribute continues. Carol has a poem by Kevin W. Riley, which was inspired by Angelou's words.

Down at The Poem Farm, Amy has an original tenting poem (also recorded for your listening enjoyment), and she shares some children's responses--art and words--to poetry.

A big shout out to Heidi Mordhurst who stopped by to say she "wanted to wave at you all from under the rich, mucky surface of the Kindergarten Frog Pond.... " Hang in there, Heidi, the school year is almost over!

Irene at Live Your Poem shares news of embarking on a new adventure, and, she includes her poem about Harriet Tubman called, "All Aboard the Freedom Train." Bon voyage, Irene!

I almost forgot to link to KK's Kwotes! Today, there's a quote by Ntoxake Shange with a link to an article, "A Poet With Words Trapped Inside." Kurious Kitty is taking the day off at her Library blog, so there's no link.

Down on the Teche today, Margaret Simon was moved to write a sestina to celebrate Maya Angelou. Look for lines like these,
She knew who heard her voice
above all others; her curls
were born to adorn our hearts.

Keri is recommending jumping aboard the cinquain bandwagon. She includes two cinquain that were inspired by a walk along, and a tumble into, a creek.

For those who are in need today, there's an incredibly hopeful poem, "Marigolds," by Robert Graves at Bildungsroman.

Karen Edmisten has been bitten by the Dickinson bug! She is fascinated by Emily Dickinson, the woman and shares a link to "Emily Dickinson" by Linda Pastan, and links to other musings on Dickinson.

Trica at The Miss Rumphius Effect is back. She's been having a difficult month and so, she's posting a poem called "Sorrow." Since a shared sorrow is a sorrow halved, then by the end of the day, her readers should have her back on the joy track.

At There Is No Such Thing As a God-forsaken Town, Ruth is thinking about cleaning now that the school year is over. She shares "Mother's Closet" by Maxine Scates.

Project Chameleon explores the National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry and Kelly asks what poems are favorites for use in a classroom?

All About the Books with Janet Squires provides us with an introduction to The Tree That Time Built: A Celebration of Nature, Science and Imagination, an anthology of poems selected by Mary Ann Hoberman.

We'll close out the night with some Wendell Berry at Rogue Anthropologist.

It's been a long day. Any comments that come through later tonight will be posted tomorrow. Goodnight all!

Readertotz points out that Shel Silverstein's Don't Bump the Glump and Other Fantasies is now 50 years old!

Poetry for Children's tribute to Maya Angelou focuses on Angelou's children's poetry. I'm amazed by the scope of her work!

Lori Ann at On Point experiments with Superstickies (welcome to the club!) to create "Twilight's blush."

If you've never tried putting a poem on a sticky note, you can try it here. I've been a fan since 2009 and have now posted 255 weekly stickies!

May 25, 2014

May 23, 2014

Poetry Friday--Baseball Poetry

Last Friday, on my library blog, I wrote about an new anthology of baseball poems titled, Heart of the Order: Baseball Poems: An Anthology edited by Gabriel Fried. The anthology contains more than 70 poems about baseball.

Before I share a poem from the book, I'd like to tell you about an interview Robert Pinsky did with WBUR's Bill Littlefield, the host of Only a Game. In it, Pinsky said,
I love basketball. I love baseball. I love football. Somehow the team sports that my dad played and my grandfather played and that I played--more ineptly than thou--those are the sports that have meaning to me.
The family tie is a strong one and it appears again and again in Heart of the Order. Here's an example:
by Yusef Komunyakaa

Most were married teenagers
Working knockout shifts daybreak
To sunset six days a week--
Already old men playing ball
In a field between a row of shotgun houses
& the Magazine Lumber Company.
They were all Jackie Robinson
& Willie Mays, a touch of
Josh Gibson & Satchell Paige
In each stance and swing, a promise
Like a hesitation pitch always
At the edge of their lives,
Arms sharp as rifles.
The Sunday afternoon heat
Flared like thin flowered skirts
As children and wives cheered.
The men were like cats
Running backwards to snag
Pop-ups & high-flies off
Fences, stealing each other's glory.
The old deacons & raconteurs
Who umpired made an Out or Safe
Into a song & dance routine.
Runners hit the dirt
& slid into homeplate,
Cleats catching light,
As they conjured escapes, outfoxing
Double plays. In the few seconds
It took a man to eye a woman
Upon the makeshift bleachers,
A stolen base or homerun
Would help another man
Survive the new week.

I'm probably the most un-sporty person I know, but, somehow I've managed to post a number of times about baseball. Click here, here, or here. However, the poems I write generally have little to do with the playing of the game!

I'll finish with an original poem, which is only tangentially about baseball:

Family Vacation, Circa 1961

We never went on cruises
or stayed at vacation resorts.
Our vacation spots were
cheaply rented or borrowed
bungalows, often shared
with aunts, uncles, and cousins.

One night we all went to dinner.
Nothing fancy, not expensive,
but the food must have been
good, because two men of
some renown came in to eat--
Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris.

I'm sure you've heard of them.
They were gods--baseball gods!
We got their autographs on
the greasy spoon's cheap paper
napkins. If only someone had
had a camera to take a family shot.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.
Violet Nesdoly / poems is where all the cool kids are hanging out today--see you there!

Photo from Baseball Digest, October 1961, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

May 18, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!

Yesterday, Amy Souza, founder of the quarterly SPARK! challenge, posted a photo on Facebook of her dog. She captioned it: "This is what I woke up to this morning. I could feel her eyes boring into me." The photo tickled my fancy and I edited it slightly to make into a haiga. Many thanks to Amy for allowing me to use the photo.

Click on the image to enlarge. Haiga © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Original photo © Amy Souza, all rights reserved, used with permission.

May 16, 2014

Poetry Friday--Ekphrastic Haiku

Painting courtesy The Athenaeum.

This painting by Felix Vallotton, "Rocamadour Landscape," inspired a number of haiku for today, all of which share "May dawn":

May dawn
the chickens, too
on their own

the blanket folded
ready to be put away
...May dawn

who can sleep?
sun and wisteria
this May dawn

May dawn
even earlier than usual
the cat's meeoow

Elizabeth Steinglass is just waiting for you to stop by for the Poetry Friday Round-Up!

May 11, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!

Click on image to enlarge for easier reading. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

May 9, 2014

Poetry Friday--Massachusetts Poetry Festival Impressions

Is it just me, or is anyone else bothered by a poetry banner that looks like it's been splashed with blood?

I'm writing this within hours of the close of the 2014 Mass Poetry Festival. It was fabulous. A poetry-filled weekend that had me scribbling down quotes. Now, I hope my handwriting is legible, and my memory good enough, for me to interpret what I wrote down!

One session that I particularly enjoyed was a panel discussion of some of the poems included in the Mass Poetry Festival's "Common Threads" program. The program brings a pre-selected group of poems into libraries, nursing homes, and other places. People who don't necessarily come in contact with poetry on a daily basis are introduced to the poems and a facilitator leads a discussion. One of the panelists was tasked with presenting Stanley Kunitz's "Halley’s Comet." By way of introduction, he told us that Kunitz's father had committed suicide prior to Stanley's birth, then, he read the poem. It had the immediate effect of reducing me to tears. It was all I could do, to keep from sobbing out loud. It reminded me of the elderly nun who had explained to my daughter that she didn't mind dying because she would finally get to meet her mother who had died in childbirth. The woman had been in her 80s or 90s and still felt the loss. The poem is here if you, like I was, are unfamiliar with it. For me, the longing in it is palpable, and, if I had taken nothing else away from the weekend, that poem would have been enough.

Another session was called "The Sense of an Ending," and in it, four poets discussed writing endings for poems. One brought up the idea of what she called her "personal cliche." For her it was ending a poem by "throwing in a stray cat, or a bird flying by." These images are powerful for her, and, therefore, have become overused in her work. Do you have a personal cliche? I sometimes think I write too many poems that go along dum-de-dum-de-dum-de-dum then BAM! I think I need to mix up my endings a bit. Not every ending has to grab the reader by the [fill in your favorite cliche here--throat, balls, whatever]. Another panelist said an ending is "a decision with lots of levels of consciousness."

I heard many well-published poets read from their work. Friday night we listened in awe to Philip Levine and Carol Ann Duffy. I've heard Levine at the Dodge Festival, so I knew how good he was going to be. Duffy, with her accent was fun to listen to, and, she read some really funny poems! "Mrs. Midas" is one (the video is from another festival, however):

Oliver de la Paz and Susan Rich read Saturday afternoon. They were supposed to have been joined by Marge Piercy, but she couldn't get off the Cape due to the Bourne Bridge being closed. I enjoyed both de la Paz and Rich. At one point de la Paz was reading some pretty heavy stuff and he turned to the audience and said, "I'm a poet, I'm allowed to wear black!"

One of Saturday night's line-up, a poet I had never heard read before, was Li-Young Lee. Afterwards, I was asked what I thought of his reading. I said it was "interesting." As you probably all know, "interesting" is code for "not so great, but if you liked it, I don't want to offend you by saying so." The two women I spoke with had seen him on a number of occasions and found Saturday's performance off-putting and completely out of character. One even suggested he might have had a little too much liquid refreshment before the performance. He conducted himself, throughout the reading of three love poems, with head down, hair covering his face, and not at all engaged with the audience. Odd.

Lee was joined by Kim Addonizio, who was a hoot. And, someone I would definitely look forward to seeing/hearing again.

Cornelius Eady rounded out the headliners on Saturday night. I had seen Eady earlier in the day when he performed along with members of his band. (The photo is from the earlier session.)

I was pleasantly surprised by the light-hearted poems read by Rhina Espaillat on Sunday. David Ferry read a bunch of classical poems he had translated, and, I was a little disappointed in not hearing some of his original work. Lucie Brock-Broido also read, and I'll have to get back to you on her work, I'm undecided as to what I think. (She definitely wore the poet-black, though.)

Here's a poem that is based upon what happened to me at one of the sessions:
"We Listen With Our Ears, Dear, Not Our Mouths."

Several poets read aloud; an
audience member listens aloud,


I want to turn around and throttle
her as she hmms and wows

I want to yell: Shut up! Shut up!
I stop, though, when I realize

this anger is the one thing
working to keep me awake.

I wasn't as enamored of the readers as she seemed to be!

Jama Rattigan is the hostess with the mostess for this week's Round-Up.

Photos and poem © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. The lighting was awful and, thus, the resulting pictures were awful, so I didn't include most of what I had taken. :-(

May 6, 2014

Haiku Sticky #252

At first I was going to label this a senryu, however, brick sidewalks are especially difficult after the frost heaves of winter, so, I guess technically this is a poem about nature.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

May 4, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!

I wasn't feeling haiku-ish this week, so here's a short poem.

Click on the image to enlarge for easier reading. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

May 2, 2014

Poetry Friday--Who's Up for a Challenge?

One day, while reading through Facebook, I came across a comment on an illustrator friend's post. The commenter had mentioned receiving her "Sketchbook Project" blank book in the mail. Being a curious person, I took a trip via the Google and found a website for The Sketchbook Project 2015, described as "A crowd sourced library of artists' books."

I read through and learned about the Mobile Library and the permanent Brooklyn Art Library.

The "Frequently Asked Questions" page states:
We use 'sketchbook' as [a] loose term for experimentation in creativity. You can write, draw, collage, share photographs, list, document, record, tell a story, or any other way of filling a page.

In other words, as a writer, I can participate!

I signed up, paid my fee, and shortly thereafter my sketchbook arrived in the mail! The project deadline is January 31, 2015, so I have plenty of time for pre-planning and execution. When I signed up, I checked off "History Book" as my theme. I'm considering using public domain Library of Congress photos as a jumping off point and writing more poehistry. Something like what I did with many of the poems in Kids of the Homefront Army. (An old post on writing from photos, which is archived at The Write Sisters blog, explains in more detail.)

The sketchbook is only 32 pages--I think I can come up with enough to fill it. (I'd better be careful. My late mother used to say, "Famous last words!" whenever someone made a cock-sure pronouncement.)

The 2014 tour has begun. The stop closest to me is Portland, Maine (by closest I mean a 2+ hour drive), but it won't occur until October 2. A Thursday! From 11 until 3. I'm guessing I won't make it, but maybe you can catch one of the stops near you. Here's the schedule.

Perhaps you would like to fill a 32 page sketchbook with your poems and share it with the world. Be aware: there are some copyright stipulations you must agree to. For me, there's not enough time left in my "career" as a poet, to worry about granting nonexclusive rights to the Project, however, you may disagree.

You didn't expect a P.F. post without a poem, did you? I looked through some photos and found this one:

Caption: Alfred Hicks, a 10-year-old newsie, selling Boston papers at noon. Location: Barre, Vermont. Date: December 18, 1916. Photo by Lewis Wickes Hine, courtesy Library of Congress.

This photo had a date and specified the papers were from Boston, so, I did a little research and found a copy of the morning edition of the Boston Daily Globe for December 18, 1916, which was a Monday. The headline for that day was "Bomb Blows Hole in Police Station Wall." Anarchists were blamed and the bomb was suspected to be made of dynamite. And that was just the main headline! Holy cows! I will start my book with this poem about young Alfred:

I never spend much time
in school what with money
to be made on the street
hawking the Boston papers,

but I know enough words
to make passersby hungry
for what's in the 16 pages
of the Boston Daily Globe.

Today, there's Explosions!
61 dead! Society folks
climbing through flames
to leap from buildings--

dressed only in nighties!
Wouldn't you want to find
out more? Sure ya would!
Only two cents, Mister.
I imagined Alfred talking to the man taking his picture and demonstrating a talent for melding front page stories to make one, sensational, paper-selling, tale.

I could go many ways from here. More poems about the unique, and long-forgotten, events reported on Monday, December 18, 1916? More about newsies? Headlines from other days in the early 1900s? Poems about working kids, and the variety of jobs in which they were employed (exploited), who were photographed by Hine for the National Child Labor Committee? What would interest you as a reader?

Come back again--I imagine I'll be sharing more on the project down the road.

Katya, at Write. Sketch. Repeat. is our host for this Friday's Round-Up. I'm going to apologize ahead of time for not answering comments, and not commenting on others' posts today. I'm heading out to the Mass Poetry Festival taking place this weekend in Salem, MA.